Stiff upper lips, repressed emotions and the ever present fear of death are all on show in this classy World War II romantic drama.
The British classic’s storyline sees a glamorous actress torn between her airman husband and her movie star lover. Will she choose duty or passion – or will fate force her hand?
A favorite of Winston Churchill, the play first debuted back in 1942 and was based on playwright Terence Rattigan’s own experiences as a rear gunner in the Royal Air Force. But it’s themes of danger and desire still play well today and this Theatre 40 production does a good job of creating both atmosphere and suspense.
The technical aspects are excellent but for the emotional impact to reach the same level the performers playing the adulterous lovers need to boost their chemistry with each other.
Look out for a fantastic performance by Christian Pedersen as the husband, a seemingly confident pilot who breaks down and confesses his fears in the play’s best scene.
The title refers to the lamps used to illuminate runways so warplanes could take off and land at night. There are several moments when this play really takes off and illuminates the local theatre scene.
By Terence Rattigan
Directed by Bruce Gray
Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon until December 15 2014. Performance times at Theatre 40
Tickets $26 from 310 364 0535 and Theatre 40
Cast: Alison Blanchard, Karl Czerwonka, Antony Ferguson, Christine Joelle, Christian Pedersen, Ann Ryerson, John Salandria, Shawn Savage, Annalee Scott, Caleb Stevens.
Produced by: David Hunt Stafford
Stage manager – Don Solosan
Set design – Jeff G Rack
Costume design – Michele Young
Lighting design – Ric Zimmerman
Sound design – Joseph ‘Sloe’ Slawinski
Dialect coach – Stuart James Galbraith
Prop Master – Ernest McDaniel
Photo of Sandro Monetti by Dawn Bowery from the book California Dreaming: Brits in LA Book
Thespian Thoughts is a theatre review article on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.